Shamed into Silence

I was the last in line as the youngest in a large family. Since none of them took responsibility for their own actions and instinctively put the blame on whoever was lower than them on the totem pole, naturally it trickled down to me.

I was to blame for just about everything and I was meant to feel shame for even being alive. It made it almost impossible for me to even speak at times, I felt so unworthy to even exist. I was selectively mute which only angered them whenever they were in my face trying to provoke me into a fight. I never learned how to express myself properly which led to a form of autism.

It didn’t help that my personality is one of a quiet and sensitive nature to begin with. I always cared about things none of them seemed to even notice as they went about their loud, brash, adversarial and utterly shallow lives.

The older I got, the more attention I got for being the quintessential blonde haired Barbie doll, the worse the shaming became. By the time I left home I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, let alone anyone else in the eye. My eyes were always cast down and I hated even doing my hair and makeup because I had to look at a face I had been conditioned to loathe.

I hated myself so much and I didn’t really know why. Everyone outside my family seemed to find me more than worthy and told me so.

Once I was away from the chaos and confusion and constant shaming, I could begin to work on “de-shaming” myself.

It’s still hard to come to terms with the damage shaming did to me but then I remember: some of us have been shamed into eternal silence. I still have my voice.

And I can look myself and other people in the eye now.

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